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Cannot boot. Really messed up this time!

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by SuitcaseMurf, Jul 11, 2007.

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  1. SuitcaseMurf

    SuitcaseMurf Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Messages:
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    Admittedly this machine is long in the tooth, and I will be getting a new one. Problem is I want to get it running again, at least to access my files. This old 700Mhz Athlon ran XP Pro well enough with 512mb ram. The 17Gig drive was getting pretty full but after removing some programs it had 900mb free I think. The problems started with the usual internet security things: growing problems with popup ads, possible viruses, a variety of malware and then IE being constantly redirected. I've used several malware removal programs which helped some but not entirely. Things got very slow and sluggish, and then all sorts of error messages that were often different each time. More and more time trying to eradicate these problems had less and less effect. Then in booting up it would take forever, probably loading all sorts of unneeded processes as seen in Task Manager, running worse each time over a period of several months. At last it was unable to finish booting up at all, just starting over after a 10 or 15 minute bootup attempt.

    I am now reading a 1200 page book on XP looking for answers, and just getting more confused as it tends to raise more questions than it answers. Trying to boot up in Safe Mode gets few results. Doing this produced a DOS listing of driver files, but this appeared to stop in the middle. But still the drive was running (about 5 minutes), then up comes the black Safe Mode screen with an hourglass cursor. I eventually did ^-alt-del to get Task Manager to appear. Clicking processes tab showed it bouncing between 10, 11, and 12 processes over and over, with IExplore intermittently at the top of the list. CPU usage was always 100%. The Commit Charge just kept getting bigger and bigger: going from 170,000K to 228,000K and never stopped. But the 2nd number in Commit Charge was under 60,000.

    Does this suggest new hardware problems such as memory? Bad driver files? Damaged hard drive? Or could all this have been caused by malware gone wild? Even though the machine is rather obsolete, it did work ok a number of months ago, and I need to get it running again. I need a concrete list of steps to try, whether that involves diagnosing hardware in another machine, or what. If it involves reinstalling Windows, I need to do it in a way that does not jeopardize my files. Unfortunately, I have only an XP upgrade cd, not a full original cd. And, having a history of getting only the upgrades (3.1, 95, 98, XP), it is not ideal for reinstallation (not even sure where to start). The file format is FAT32, not converted to NTFS probably because I was worried I would be unable to ever reinstall starting with an earlier version if that was ever necessary. Incidentally, I do have an external drive with partial file backup done, but not sure I can even get the computer to recognize it. I was thinking of using DOS xcopy to backup more files to it, but at this point I cannot get a C: prompt. Thank you for any help here.
     
  2. cancon

    cancon

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,152
    hmmm...how about getting another PC and sticking the hard disk in as slave, copying all the important data, and chucking it away?

    ^
    SIMPLE SOLUTION
     
  3. SuitcaseMurf

    SuitcaseMurf Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7
    Yes, that is a simple solution, and I may. But I was hoping to learn something here about diagnosing and fixing a computer that probably is not a hardware issue. For the sake of discussion let's assume my problematic machine were relatively new and somewhat expensive. Surely there are solutions other than throwing everything out but the hard drive, whenever a problem arises.
     
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